There are a lot of things that many of us take for granted today, which are an integral part of our tech-infused lives.
I am sure you can probably remember a time when it was really rare for anyone to have a cell phone and cell phones were as big, if not bigger, than the land line phones we use today.
In this post, we are taking a look at the huge leaps that gadgets have made in such a considerably short time span. From the 1990’s to today.
- The Television
Televisions are probably one of the most significant technological developments in the world. They debuted in the 1920’s and evolved into the most common household appliance.In the 1990’s, they were big, bulky, 2-foot wide by 2-foot high 200 pound cubes that displayed images on a flourescent screen using cathode ray tube (CRT) technology.Today, televisions are a quarter of the weight with an inches thick high definition screen that displays images using LCD, Plasma, DLP, and more recently OLED technologies.
- The Laptop Computer
Laptops are another piece of technology that is quickly becoming more and more of a cornerstone of society. In 1996, only 17% of computers purchased were laptops. Next year, laptop sales are expected to surpass desktop computer sales.Portable PC’s debuted shortly after the personal computer was made a reality, but they were large, heavy, and bulky, and in the ’90’s could only display 256 colors.Just like all computer technology, laptops have made bounding leaps in both processing and graphics. Now most laptops come with thin LCD screens, are light-weight and easy to carry around.
- The Cell Phone
Cell phones are one of those pieces of technology that we just can’t live without. These days, everyone has one, even children.Back in the ’80’s and ’90’s cell phones were available to those who could afford them, but they weren’t as convenient as they are today. They we big bricks that were larger than a 1-liter soda bottle, and were hardly pocket-friendly.Today, they have evolved into a more manageable form; not only are they light-weight and super-thin, but today’s technology allows them to display amazing graphics and they are even capable of multimedia functionality.
- The Music Player
Music is one of those things that has been around since the dawn of time. Only more recently in human history, however, have we developed the technology to record it.In the ’70’s it was vinyl records; in the ’80’s it was the 8-track; and in the ’90’s it was the cassette tape. Once the cassette tapes were made commercially available the music industry blew up. They were (at the time) a reliable, high quality method of recording music, and they became very popular.Cassettes segued easily in compact discs, feeding the popularity of music playback directly into the 21st century. Fast forward to modern day, and statistics show that more and more people listen to music via their cell phones, MP3 players, and personal computers.Cassette and CD players have pretty much gone extinct and have given way to a digital age.
- The Printer
Developments in printer technology are probably one of the most drastic, and most definitely one of the ones that I am more thankful for.In the ’80’s and ’90’s we had to rely on Dot Matrix printers to produce our hard copies. Not only were these printers loud, noisy, and slow, but they only printed in a dull grey dot pattern and were limited to text and simple graphics.Of course, at the time, computers were only capable of the same text and simple graphics as well. Take a look at modern printers, and you will see a major difference.Today’s computers can display just about anything ranging from black text to hi-res photo quality images. Our printers are capable of the same level of quality. Today we use our printers to print all-text documents and color images of all shapes, sizes, and quality.
- The Robot
Robots have been one of the more hopeful technologies that scientists have been working on for years. The idea has been present in popular culture for ages, but as mere science fiction.From Lost in Space to The Terminator, robots have been presented in many forms and have always been a dream of mankind.In 2005, Honda debuted the ASIMO robot, one of the first successful anthropomorphic robots with a level of artificial intelligence capable of making it a functional domestic aid.
- Electric Vehicles
Energy sources and environmental safety have been extremely important topics as of late, but the idea of electric vehicles has been around for a long time.GM debuted the first commercially marketable electric car in 1999, the EV1, but was met with doubt and skepticism on the part of consumers who were incapable of making the transition to electric at the time.Today we have many different types of Hybrid vehicles on the market, which helps to slowly transition us from fossil fuels to electric vehicles.
- The Game Console
Video games are one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the world today. Formerly considered a children’s toy, they have made their way into popular culture and are now viewed on the same scale as the film industry.One of the earliest video game consoles was the Atari 2600, which led up to the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System, and then later generations, such as the 16-bit Super NES, 64-bit Nintendo 64, and 128-bit Sony Playstation, just to name a few.Mainstream video gaming crossed over the threshold of popular culture with the Playstation 2 and Microsoft’s Xbox, modern consoles which both led up to the modern “next gen” iterations known as the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.These consoles, along with the Nintendo Wii, have become super high tech marvels of technology that not only function as game consoles, but as multi-media entertainment centers and online gameplay hubs as well.
- The GPS System
Global positional is a system that has been around for many years, having been used widely as a military surveillance method in recent eras.Today, the technology has been adapted for consumer usage as a navigation tool. Whereas in the past it was used to track units in foreign lands as a part of military campaigns, today it adorns the dashboards of our vehicles in order to help us get to where we need to go.
- Flash Memory Sticks
In the ’90’s, removable media was not as readily available as it is today. More often than not we had to rely on 1-2MB floppies and 100MB ZIP disks to store our data, which was not only limited by capacity, but a risk as those formats were fairly fragile.Eventually, we learned how to burn data to CD’s, but that was still somewhat risky as CD’s are easily broken or scratched as well. It was the advent of USB technology that really made removable storage more convenient. Modern flash drives are small, easy to transport, and these days, high capacity.They were originally most commonly found with 32MB or 256MB capacities, but now 1GB or 2GB flash drives are extremely cheap, with higher capacities becoming much more affordable every day.